U.S. Stocks May Continue To Experience Choppy Trading

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Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by just 3 points.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of this afternoon's release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting.

The minutes of the Fed's September meeting may shed additional light on the central bank's plans to scale back its asset purchases.

The markets are also digesting a report from the Labor Department showing consumer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of September.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in September after rising by 0.3 percent in August. Economists had been expecting another 0.3 percent increase.

Excluding higher prices for food and energy, core consumer prices edged up by 0.2 percent in September after inching up by 0.1 percent in August. The uptick in core prices matched economist estimates.

The report also showed the annual rate of growth in consumer prices accelerated to 5.4 percent in September from 5.3 percent in August, while the annual rate of growth in core prices was unchanged at 4.0 percent.

On the earnings front, shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are moving modestly higher in pre-market trading after the financial giant reported third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Asset management firm Blackrock (BLK) is also likely to see initial strength after reporting better than expected third quarter earnings and revenues.

Meanwhile, shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL) may move to the downside after the airline beat third quarter estimates but warned of a fourth quarter loss due to higher fuel costs.

Following the downturn seen over the course of Monday's session, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Tuesday. The major averages spent most of the session lingering near the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day modestly lower. The Dow dipped 117.72 points or 0.3 percent to 34,378.34, the Nasdaq edged down 20.28 points or 0.1 percent to 14,465.93 and the S&P 500 slipped 10.54 points or 0.2 percent to 4,350.65.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.55 to $80.09 a barrel after inching up $0.12 to $80.64 barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,763.60, up $4.30 compared to the previous session's close of $1,759.30. On Tuesday, gold rose $3.60.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.65 yen compared to the 113.61 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1543 compared to yesterday's $1.1530.

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